Our Board

WestVic Dairy is run by a Board of Directors. The Board is made up of six farmers and two industry service providers who meet eight times per year The role of the Board is to ensure that the levies collected from the region's dairy farmers are directed to relevant research and development and that the findings are communicated to all dairy farmers to increase the profitability and sustainability of the regions dairy industry.

Simone Renyard- Chairperson

Farmer Representative

Harper KilpatrickSimone joined the industry with her husband, after meeting at university 21 years ago. 

She said she was very much a city girl prior to  coming back on the farm.

"I didn't realise all the wonderful paths the industry has to offer, before I became involved," she said.

Simone has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology. She has always worked off farm, while also looking after the HR side of the farm business, as well as the young stock and business structures.

“Nick and I run the business as a team,” she said.  “My real love is the people side.”

Mrs Renyard is involved in many different industry bodies, such as Dairy Australia and ADF and has focused on issues surrounding people on dairy farms.

Email Simone: srenyard@bigpond.com

Kirsti Keightley

Westvic Dairy BoardVice Chairperson- Farmer Representative

Kirsti married into the industry back in New Zealand and hasn’t looked back since.

The Keightley’s worked their way up through share farming to farm ownership and came to Australia with the aim to farm more land. They now own two farms near Hamilton milking 1100 cows. After building the farms from the ground up, they are now operated by managers.

But Mrs Keightley’s interest goes far beyond the borders of her own farm. Amongst other things, she founded the ANZAC discussion group. Last year, Mrs Keightley completed her Diploma in Human Resources, where her passion lies.

Email Kirsti: conwallapastoral@aussiebb.com.au

Tom Newton

Westvic Dairy BoardTreasurer- Independent

Tom has been on the WestVic Dairy board as a service provider representative since 2014 taking over the Treasurers role in 2016. 

Growing up on a property west of Stanthorpe in Queensland, Tom moved to South West Victoria seven years ago as the National Manager at Maxum Animal Nutrition. He first entered the dairy industry when selling dairy commodities into the industrial food sector with Maxum Foods and then transitioned to a farmer facing role when he moved to Victoria with Maxum’s animal nutrition division.

“I fell in love with the industry when I moved down to Western Victoria. There are great opportunities for people of all ages and vocations.”

“I have the greatest respect for dairy farmers and what they do every day and I am humbled by the opportunity to represent them to ensure their levies are spent in the most efficient and effective way.”

Email Tom: tom@maxumanimal.com.au

Dr Gemma Chuck

IndependentWestvic Dairy Board

Dr Gemma Chuck graduated with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree from The Royal Veterinary College in London, UK, in June 2006. She worked briefly in the South West of England in a mixed practice clinic before moving to Australia in January 2007. She settled in Far North Queensland on the Atherton Tablelands with her husband Jason. Here she worked for Tableland Veterinary Service where she initially developed her skills in mixed practice and more latterly with an emphasis in dairy. The clinic had an affiliation with James Cook University in Townsville and Gemma was appointed Adjunct Lecturer in 2009. She was responsible for the practical teaching of dairy cattle medicine and surgery for veterinary undergraduates. 

In November 2010, Gemma was appointed as one of three Dairy Residents at the University of Melbourne.  Gemma fulfilled this role at The Vet Group in Timboon, Victoria. Her job comprised teaching of undergraduate students on farm and in the classroom, along with clinical dairy work and the undertaking of a Masters of Veterinary Science research project. The original project investigated how practical changes to colostrum management can affect morbidity, mortality and live weight gain on dairy farms in South West Victoria.  She completed her Residency in February 2013 at which time she converted her Masters into a PhD project. The project has now been expanded to determine the long term benefits of optimal calf management in South West Victorian dairy herds. Gemma enjoys working with dairy farmers to improve calf health and hopes that the work achieved by her research will help the industry as a whole.

Aside from work, Gemma enjoys walking her dogs with her husband, horse riding, photography, cooking, gardening and rearing her own calves and heifers.

Email Gemma: gchuck@thevetgroup.com.au

Tania LuckinWestvic Dairy Board

Farmer Representative

Tania’s dairy farming career began in 1997 when she and her husband Stephen moved from New Zealand to Naringal. In the 19 years they have been farming in Australia they have owned and operated a number of dairy farms of varying size and farming systems in both south west Victoria and South Australia.They currently operate a 500 cow dairy farm in Heywood.

Tania has always been actively involved in the industry on numerous levels, including Target 10 SW committee, SW Regional Extension Committee, various industry steering committees and most recently a director with Bonlac Supply Company. Currently, she is the facilitator for two local discussion groups and is a member of various industry body working groups.

In 2012, Tania completed an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture and is currently completing a Bachelor of Agribusiness Management at Charles Sturt University. Tania believes that dairy is a dynamic industry to be involved in with a bright future ahead. She feels honoured to have been selected for the WestVic Dairy board.

“I have a sincere desire to see our industry succeed in developing profitable, productive and sustainable farmers”. 

Email Tania: luckin@bigpond.com

Michael HawkerWestvic Dairy Board

Farmer Representative

Michael was born on the family dairy farm and started supervising milking from the baby capsule strapped to the wall of the dairy. By 4 years old he moved up to droving the herd and by 8 years old he was driving the tractor feeding out and raking silage. Throughout school he milked four nights a week and completed an apprentice as a motor mechanic whilst still working on the home farm. Michael has been heavily involved in the YDDP and YDN and gained a lot of experience from this. He is currently managing the family farm at Heywood, milking 600 cows on 400ha. He joined the WestVic Dairy board to deliver the views and guidance of local farmers in the industry and give back to an industry that he is very passionate about. Michael hopes that he will also be able to provide youthful and innovative views and represent the young farmers in the Western Victorian Region.

Email Michael: hawker_123@hotmail.com

Mark BillingWestvic Dairy Board

Farmer Representative

Mark farms in partnership with his wife Sam on the family farm 5km west of Colac. He operates a dryland pasture based operation milking registered Holsteins. As a 4th generation dairy farmer, he has a passion for the dairy industry and wants to contribute to its ongoing success. In 1988, he completed his dairy apprenticeship on the family farm and was awarded the UDV Apprentice of the Year in that same year. Mark completed his Advanced Diploma of Farm Management with the Melbourne University at the Glenormiston campus and was a director of the Colac Herd Improvement board up until the merger that created HICO. He is also member of the Future Dairy steering committee, which is representing the industry, as well as overseeing research projects at Sydney University for the past 8 years. The Committee has had governance over many projects including major forage research and robotic milking systems. Currently, Marc is also sitting on a Dairy Australia committee investigating the use of PD (precision dairy) technologies in Australia and New Zealand; he is a Director of the Bonlac Supply Company and Chair of the Fonterra Supplier Forum.

Email: mark.billing@bigpond.com